Also known as chitosamine, glucosamine is a natural component of healthy cartilage. Its popularity and reported safety as a short-term treatment for arthritic pain should not cloud the fact that it can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system.
Although quality and contents vary greatly, dietary supplements generally provide glucosamine in the form of glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochoride.
Cardiovascular Side Effects
The Mayo Clinic reports that glucosamine products may cause an elevation of blood pressure and heart rate, and it may also cause heart palpitations.
The Mayo Clinic indicates that the hypertensive effects of glucosamine are temporary. Blood pressure should therefore return to previous levels after one stops taking the supplements.
The Arthritis and Glucosamine Information Center notes that glucosamine sulfate supplements often contain potassium chloride or sodium chloride, which are salts. According to the Cleveland Clinic, high sodium intake may cause high blood pressure.
WebMD doesn't include high blood pressure as a potential side effect of glucosamine hydrochloride.
The ingredients of a glucosamine product seem to determine its specific effect on blood pressure. Also, according to the National Library of Medicine, people who are allergic to shellfish or iodine should not use glucosamine supplements.